The month of June has author Jennifer Weiner jet-setting all across the country.
It’s not something a lot of authors do — embarking on a 17 city book tour. But when you write novels, popular women’s fiction to be precise, that have sold more than 11 million copies world-wide because your readers find them so relatable and you have a new book out this month, you pack up your suitcase and hold on for the ride.
That ride will bring international and No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Weiner to Iowa for the first time when she stops in Cedar Rapids on Friday to wrap up this year’s Metro Area Library Network’s Out Loud! Author Series. She’ll be talking about her latest book, “Mrs. Everything,” that just hit bookshelves last week.
“I loved doing the research, diving into the history, reading old magazines and newspapers and classified ads to get the details of the periods,” Weiner said of writing “Mrs. Everything.” “I want readers to feel the shag carpet and the shoulder pads, to smell the marijuana and taste the New Coke and the SlimFast. That was fun. The biggest challenge was getting the book down to a manageable size. At one point it was 600 pages long!”
The story introduces readers to sisters Bethie and Jo and follows their lives from the 1950s to present day as they find their places in an ever-changing world. The book — Weiner’s first in four years — joins other Weiner classics, such as “Good in Bed,” “In Her Shoes,” and “Who Do You Love.” Readers turn to Weiner’s books time and again thanks to her ability to craft relatable heroines, make sharp observations, and create poignant scenes and humorous scenes.
Weiner is excited to have “Mrs. Everything” in the hands of readers after working on it for so long. “I hope this book is everything they’ve come to expect from my novels, but this book is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever written, with more scope and more heft than any of my other books. I hope it won’t feel like a departure as much as a natural progression.”
Having written for several decades, Weiner has gone through her own progression as a writer. “It’s funny to think that I’ve been writing for this long,” she said. “Every book feels like the first one. I am still so thrilled when I see the first advance readers copy, and the stack of pages from my closet actually looking like a book. And seeing my books in bookstores absolutely never gets old.”
Time, she said, does change one’s perspective though.
“When I began, I was a single woman getting over a bad breakup... and, while I look back at that girl with a lot of affection, I’m not her any longer,” said Weiner. “I’m not as angry, I can see how the old chestnut about time healing all wounds is true. Twenty years later, as I watch my own daughters get ready to leave the nest and launch their own lives, I find myself thinking about what they’ll encounter, and whether the world has gotten any better. I don’t know if anything has changed me as a writer, but I can say for sure that it has given me a lot of sympathy for my own mother.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Despite her planes, trains and automobiles tour of the country, Weiner said she is excited to talk about this book, and the writing life in general, with readers in Iowa.
“I am a lucky in that I actually enjoy being out on book tour because I like public speaking. I love interacting with readers and hearing how my books have touched them. That is far and away the best part, and it is what I hold onto on days when I am down.”
Then once her tour is over, Weiner said she’s looking forward to spending some time with her family.
“I would love to spend a week in Venice, but I will probably end up settling for a weekend at the Jersey shore,” she said. “Honestly, the thing I am is looking forward to spending time with my family. I have a 16-year-old who will be learning to drive this summer, which is making me very aware that I’ve only got her for another few short years. I want to be with her as much as she will let me.”